A piece in the New York Times this week talks about how difficult it is for single people to find a job as a pastor, especially in evangelical churches.
Some, in fact, think that the church is discriminating against singles in ministry. Here’s part of the article.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said it was unfair to accuse churches of discrimination because that word implied something â€œwrongful.â€
â€œBoth the logic of Scripture and the centrality of marriage in society,â€ he said, justify â€œthe strong inclination of congregations to hire a man who is not only married but faithfully married.â€
Mr. Mohler said he tells the students at his seminary that â€œif they remain single, they need to understand that thereâ€™s going to be a significant limitation on their ability to serve as a pastor.â€
Don’t get me wrong… I think Al Mohler is a good guy; but I often wonder where he’s coming from.
When scripture says that an elder should be a husband of one wife, does that mean that elders have to be married?
I guess I never really thought that was supposed to be the case.
What if the elder’s wife dies? Â Does that mean he needs to step down?
What if a man never marries? Â Does that disqualify him?
Was Paul the husband of one wife?
Or Charles Stanley?
Come on, Al. Â Can single men pastor as well as married men? Â I don’t know why they wouldn’t be able to.
Don’t get me wrong. Â I think a wife can be a huge asset to a pastor and his ministry. Â But to tell young men preparing for ministry that they will be significantly limited unless they find a woman is… well… I’ll let you fill in the word.
Finally (not to pick apart Al’s wordsÂ completely), but what does it mean to be “not only married, but fully married”?
Let’s come right out and say it. Â Here are two concerns that people have about senior pastors that aren’t married.
1. Â That they are prone toÂ promiscuity. Â Unmarried pastors do not have a biblical way to carry out their ‘man urges’, thus we think they’re more likely to act outside of scripture when it comes to sexuality.
2. Â If they’re not married, some people will think (although they would never admit it) that the pastor is gay. Â After all, if he wasn’t, he’d be married.
Both are unfounded. Â Pick up the newspaper every day and you’ll see that being married as a pastor doesn’t keep you from either #1 or #2.
QUESTION: Â Is the church discriminatory against single pastors? Â Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
If your church was looking for a lead pastor, would you consider a single person for the position? Â Why or why not?